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March 14, 2016

Criminalizing Dissent

Will Obama’s Justice Dept. start arresting climate “deniers”?

Progressive attempts to not only censor dissent but prosecute it have spread to Barack Obama’s Department of Justice. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Justice Department operations last Wednesday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch acknowledged her department has held discussions about initiating civil action against entities progressive demagogues refer to as climate change deniers. “This matter has been discussed,” Lynch revealed. “We have received information about it and have referred it to the FBI to consider whether or not it meets the criteria for which we could take action on.”

Lynch’s flight from constitutional reality was spurred by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). Whitehouse is an old hand at promoting ecofascism, having been given credit in a letter sent to the White House last September by 20 professors and climate scientists for publicly advocating the use of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) to prosecute climate “deniers.” On Wednesday, Whitehouse likened pursuing such efforts to the civil litigation undertaken by the Clinton administration against tobacco companies.

“The similarities between the mischief of the tobacco industry pretending that the science of tobacco’s dangers was unsettled and the fossil fuel industry pretending that the science of carbon emissions’ dangers is unsettled has been remarked on widely, particularly by those who study the climate denial apparatus that the fossil fuel industry has erected,” Whitehouse bloviated. “Under President Clinton, the Department of Justice brought and won a civil RICO action against the tobacco industry for its fraud. Under President Obama, the Department of Justice has done nothing so far about the climate denial scheme.”

The only “scheme” in play here is a progressive effort to declare the so-called “settled science” of climate change an indisputable reality. Yet as most Americans are aware, the previous term promoted by the left was “global warming,” until it had to be abandoned when it became increasingly apparent the climate was failing to conform to their doom-and-gloom expectations. Expectations they have long pursued as a vehicle to expand the reach of government to its utmost limits.

Lynch is hardly alone in her effort to criminalize dissent. In New York, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has undertaken an investigation against Exxon Mobil, based on the assumption the energy giant lied to the public and its investors about the risks associated with climate change and how such risks might damage the oil business. Last November, Schneiderman issued a subpoena to the company, demanding a decade’s worth of financial records, emails and other documents. As The New York Times breathlessly reports, “Mr. Schneiderman’s decision to scrutinize the fossil fuel companies may well open a new legal front in the climate change battle,” one that “might expand further to encompass other oil companies, according to the people with knowledge of the case.”

Yet even the Times is forced to acknowledge that progressive attempts to liken this effort to their success against Big Tobacco ring hollow because Exxon Mobil “published extensive research over decades that largely lined up with mainstream climatology. Thus, any potential fraud prosecution might depend on exactly how big a role company executives can be shown to have played in directing campaigns of climate denial, usually by libertarian-leaning political groups.”

In other words, hacks like Schneiderman are attempting to penalize Exxon Mobil for the “crime” of presenting both sides of the issue.

California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris is piling on Exxon Mobil as well, based on the same premise. And once again, the Los Angeles Times acknowledges the energy giant’s “malfeasance” is based on published reports of “internal company documents, suggesting that during the 1980s and 1990s the company, then known as Exxon, used climate research as part of its planning and other business practices but simultaneously argued publicly that climate-change science was not clear cut.”

So exactly how “clear cut” is the science? “NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seemed eager in January to declare that 2015 was the hottest year on record,” Investor’s Business Daily reveals. “But they left out data that tell a somewhat different story.”

The different story is about the press briefing during which the NOAA presented its “hottest year ever” contention. It included a graph stating it has a 58-year-long radiosonde temperature record to buttress that contention. (Radiosondes are mini weather stations with radio transmitters attached to helium or hydrogen-filled balloons that lift them to altitudes exceeding 115,000 feet). Yet in what can only be construed as an effort to defraud the public, NOAA’s graph showed only the last 37 of those 58 years — because the omitted data showed there had been as much pre-1979 global cooling as post-1979 warming.

In short, the agency’s own data demonstrates there has been no global warming for 58 years.

And in another dead giveaway, the NOAA refused to present emails between scientists ostensibly refuting claims of such a pause and other communications to Congress. That refusal prompted a subpoena issued last October by House Committee on Science, Space and Technology chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). It ordered the agency to turn over their scientific data, along with internal “communications between or among employees” involved in the study.

In a better world, Lynch would be initiating discussions with the FBI about whether flat out lying by NOAA and its apparent attempt to cover it up “meets the criteria for which we could take action on.” But that would run afoul of an Obama administration whose standard-bearer has repeatedly asserted climate change is the “greatest threat” facing the nation today. Thus, we have a politically compromised DOJ acting as an agent for the progressive viewpoint, and considering prosecution against those who disagree — utterly irrespective of evidence supporting the dissenters assertions.

“The absurdity of this would be laughable if it were not so serious and so dangerous,” writes The Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky. “The very idea that the FBI, the most powerful law enforcement agency in the United States, has had a referral from the attorney general of the United State to investigate whether those who disagree with the climate change theory meet the legal ‘criteria for which’ the Justice Department ‘could take action’ is evocative of Franz Kafka’s chilling novel, ‘The Trial.’”

In a column about warnings from President Dwight Eisenhower and author Michael Crichton regarding the dangers of politicizing science, author Monty Pelerin offers a rather astute quote of his own. “Anyone can rent a scientist,” he writes. “But when Federal funding is at stake, it appears you can also rent a conclusion.” Soon we may learn if progressives, sinking ever deeper into a totalitarian swamp, can also “rent” the Justice Department to enforce that conclusion — or else.

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